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The Civil War That You Never Heard About
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The Civil War That You Never Heard About


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: Stories about war are common. Unusual is the true story of an American war with no casualties. One of the spoils of the Toledo War was the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. And the early 19th-century combatants were the Michigan and Ohio militias. Since State Representative Mike Lahti's district is in the U.P., he could confirm the story.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: That Toledo War of 1835 is called one of the most bizarre wars in American history.

(Soundbite of laughter)

State Representative MIKE LAHTI (Michigan): Yes, because I think it was bloodless, right? I don't think anybody got hurt.

HANSEN: Well, I think the militias couldn't find one another because they got lost in the swamps.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Rep. LAHTI: That's good - and decide, the heck with it. Let's just have a truce, right?

HANSEN: Yeah. But the whole thing had to do with a boundary line and...

Rep. LAHTI: Yes.

HANSEN: …and go on. How did…

Rep. LAHTI: It was a strip and was somehow messed up with the surveying. And it just didn't include what Ohio thought they should have. And they were fighting for Toledo, and they got it. And Michigan was just becoming a state. I think they were a state in 1836 or '37. And they decided the Upper Peninsula should go with Michigan.

HANSEN: The story of the Toledo War is also told by Justin Sailor on his blog,

Mr. JUSTIN SAILOR ( At the time, it was considered almost a loss for Michigan because the value wasn't seen in the Upper Peninsula. But then it became realized all the minerals that were in the Upper Peninsula - the copper mining and the iron ore. At one point, the Upper Peninsula exported 90 percent of the U.S.'s copper.

Rep. LAHTI: So, I think Michigan came out pretty good. Ohio, Toledo is great; it's a nice area. I think Michigan did pretty well.

HANSEN: Michigan State Representative Mike Lahti and Yooper blogger Justin Sailor with a history lesson on the Toledo War.

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